Project integration management: how to manage integration in a project

how to manage project integration

Project management can be complicated, especially when different departments have to work together.

As more departments work on the same project, it is likely that each of them will use a different methodology to deliver the results. The methodology chosen is the one to which each department is more accustomed or the one with which a department is more at ease.

This can make collaboration between departments difficult due to differences in process and methodology.

Additional complications to manage in a project

Project complications also occur when working on a larger project. In larger projects, for instance, we will find many moving parts that need to be aligned.

Without the correct alignment of these parts, the project can slow down, become less efficient, and even stop.

If a project manager does not understand how a change in scope will affect planning, costs and resource requirements, how can this change be managed?

Or also, what if the project manager suddenly needs a software developer to work on the project for another month?

Without managing integration across the organization, it can be difficult to see how these scenarios affect the business.

Therefore, to create harmony between the various departments and parts of a project, it is essential to manage the integration of the project, the so called project integration management.

The organization must ensure that a high level of integration is implemented in the project management processes. This aims to achieve long-term strategic corporate goals.

What is project integration management?

Project integration management is a method of coordination that allows the various processes to work together.

Managing the integration of the project basically means making trade-offs. In fact, it is not always possible to obtain everything immediately, and if you want the project to be completed on time and within the given budget, sometimes you will have to make choices.

If there are competing goals, for example, it is necessary to find alternatives in order to meet stakeholder expectations.

To obtain them, it is necessary to identify, define, combine, unify and coordinate the numerous phases and activities within the project management groups and processes.

Therefore, project integration management involves the choice of resource allocations and trade-offs. All while managing, at the same time, the interdependencies present in the project management knowledge areas.

Managing project integration is one of the ten areas of knowledge in project management and is the element that coordinates all aspects of a project.

Here all five phases of a project are touched:

  • Start
  • Planning
  • Execution
  • Monitoring and control
  • Closing

If done correctly, project integration management ensures regular and integrated processes in projects.

The 6 processes of project integration management

To correctly manage the integration of a project, it is necessary to follow 6 processes. Let’s see together what they are:

1. Develop the project charter

The project charter is what gives the authority to start the project. A project charter contains the preliminary roles and responsibilities of the project, including the goals and the assignment of a project manager. It is used as a reference document throughout the project life cycle.

2. Define and manage the scope

This document defines what is part of the project and what is not, and lists all the activities that will be carried out during the project life cycle. In other words, it outlines the results of the project and establishes a measurable criterion for success.
plan

3. Develop the project management plan

Creating a management plan defines how the various processes in the project can work together for greater efficiency and productivity. Here the goals, the budget, the program, and the resources are defined. It is also established which approach will be undertaken in order to complete the project, risk assessment, etc. In short, a formal document to help guide, monitor and execute the project. The project charter is included in the project plan.

4. Direct and manage project work

The project has now begun. Here, the technical and organizational parts of the project should be managed and this process serves to facilitate a regular execution of the project work. The project execution is divided into three parts: implementation, management, and reporting.

5. Monitor and control project work

Project work needs more than just pure management. It requires that the work is also monitored and controlled. This includes managing changes, along with the process, tools, and techniques used to manage change and project development.

Changes can be requested during the project life cycle, but these requests must be monitored and controlled to ensure that the quality of the project is not negatively affected. Emerging change requests are evaluated, managed, and documented. It is a project manager’s task to see where the project could not respect the initially established plan and, if so, take corrective action.

6. Close the project

This last phase includes the review of the various processes used and the evaluation of their success or failure. Everything must be well documented to create an archive on which future projects can refer. Therefore, at the end of each phase of the project, it is important to create a document that outlines the lessons learned during this period.

the project integration management

Project integration management as an element of design coherence

Optimally managing integration in a project, creates consistency throughout the project, from planning to documentation. It can even combine with long-term strategic planning and be able to reveal opportunities.

The process groups mentioned in the previous paragraph are the formal procedures that must be followed by each project manager at all times and for each project in order to ensure that the project ends successfully.

We have also seen how integration management requires the ability to evaluate the resources available and the ability to trade-off and manage competing activities.

Project managers must therefore possess a combination of transversal and complex skills.

These include the capabilities of:

  • Planning
  • Organization
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Relationship management
  • Development of critical thinking
  • Data analysis
  • Budgeting
  • Risk analysis and management

It is also important to create open communication channels with the project team and stakeholders. Only in this way, it is possible to ensure that the information is shared and adequate impact assessments are carried out to identify integration points or dependencies.

The possibility of using a software or Integration management tools is another factor that can increase the chances of project success.

In fact, any valuable software is able to identify with precision the points of integration and the conflicts that can be obstacles in the realization of a project.

 

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